Replacing or implementing a technology solution can be a game changer for financial institutions. In many cases, the initial investment in a platform is dwarfed by the gains in productivity, effectiveness, and profitability. But to get there you’ll need budget, resources, and support — which means you’ll need the executive team on your side.
Research shows that one of the top reasons that software implementations fail is due to a lack of executive buy-in. That's because all major organizational changes have to happen from the top down. In this blog, find out how to convince leadership that a new technology solution is worth the investment. Here are a few ways to win executive support:
1. Understand Your Decision-Maker and Their Pain Points
Selling your company’s leadership, just as selling to your customer, requires understanding what keeps them up at night. If you understand the motivations of your management team then you will know what pain points you need to address in order to win their support. Your leaders probably aren’t thinking about the day-to-day inefficiencies of your organization. Instead, they are thinking about big-picture business concerns. Focus on how your proposed technology solution could help alleviate those pain points by contributing to visibility, profitability, reputation, credibility, and overall growth.
Initial discussions about the platform should address your leadership team’s key business concerns. Ask preliminary questions, such as what they think the biggest growth challenges facing your business are and how they think you could address them. By uncovering answers to questions like these, you are better able to understand your company’s most pressing needs, communicate your solutions in terms that resonate, and lay a strong foundation on which to build your case.
2. Get Specific About What You’re Proposing
An issue’s place on your organization’s list of priorities depends heavily on how specific you can be about the problems it solves. For instance, a new technology platform might seem insignificant or unnecessary to leaders until you explain how it supports a strategic goal, such as increasing responsiveness to customers. Then it becomes an important tool for achieving strategic objectives. Once decision-makers see how your initiative fits into the big picture, they’ll be more apt to devote resources to it.
Be as detailed as you can when building your case — drill down to minutes, hours, dollars, and cents where possible. Don't be afraid to get specific about your numbers. Is your sales team struggling to close new business because your lead flow is more like a trickle? Are you experiencing unusually low customer retention? Are you marketing the right product to the right people? How can this tool improve sales, save money, and make people more efficient? Don't leave any questions about impact, cost, and time commitment unanswered.
3. Address Their Concerns Before They Do
You’re likely to encounter questions — and concerns — in the process of pitching a new technology platform. Be forthcoming about the pros and cons of your preferred vendor. It shows that you’ve done your research and that you have a nuanced understanding of what you’re recommending. Demonstrate to leadership that you understand their concerns and come prepared with ways to counter them.
The most successful pitches point to how your specific solutions can address the organization’s biggest issues. Draw clear connections between what you’re recommending and the problems that those recommendations will solve. Look at your specific institution and provide data and research on your buyer personas, competitive analyses, and other data-driven resources. This specific, targeted research will be incredibly useful in supporting your claims and preemptively addressing your decision-maker’s concerns.
4. Set Expectations & Snag Immediate Wins
Successful technology implementations require significant time and effort to see results. As you’re pitching a new technology platform, make leadership aware of the results you can realistically anticipate and the length of time it will take you to demonstrate those returns. Create a timeline that accounts for implementation and adoption — but address how you'll deliver quick wins in the meantime.
Top management will want to see financial benefits as quickly as possible. If you sense reluctance or hesitation, suggest some immediate wins based on existing needs that you've identified. Are you able to provide more target product recommendations to existing customers? Could an investment in this tool immediately improve customer service? Show how a new technology platform will be able to address these issues right away, along with the longer-term ROI it will deliver.
You need your leadership’s support and buy-in in order to secure the budget and create the culture that will empower your financial institution’s growth strategies. That buy-in will also go a long way to encouraging your entire company to adapt to the change.
When you’re advocating for a technology solution, your leadership needs to understand that this isn't a one-time spend; it's an ongoing effort and long-term investment which — when done correctly — will yield high returns.